Slewfoot: A Tale of Bewitchery

Tor Nightfire. Sept. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781250622006. $29.99. HORROR
Having been sold into marriage at 17 by an opportunistic father, London native Abitha is an outcast, her loose hair and tongue incurring both disdain and distrust from her fellow villagers. The piety and paranoia of Puritan 1660s New England instills in readers an unease and concern for Abi, particularly when her husband, Edward, meets a sudden death. Then it becomes her responsibility to fight against Edward’s brother for the rightful ownership of their farm, aided by little more than her own conviction and the skill for charms and divinations that she inherited from the women in her family. Concurrent to these events is the awakening of an ancient spirit, called “Father” by the animal brethren who invoked him. While searching for the meaning of his existence, the spirit encounters and becomes something of an ally to Abitha. Each of them tests the limits of their power—for better or worse.
VERDICT Punctuated by moments of unanticipated levity as well as unmitigated terror, this clever and imaginative tale is not to be missed by fans of dark fantasy and historical horror.
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